On Monday, May 18, a trio from the Lyric Opera Orchestra, Concertmaster Robert Hanford, guest guitarist Steven Roberts, and myself, cellist Mark Brandfonbrener, accompanied Lyric’s Creative Consultant and leading diva Renee Fleming in “America the Beautiful” during the 2015 City of Chicago Inauguration Ceremony for Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Many dignitaries were in attendance, notably former President Bill Clinton and Senator Richard Durbin. This offered an unusual opportunity to have our instrument cases sniffed by the K9 patrol: as would be expected, there was a large police and secret service presence guaranteeing the safety of the former President and all in attendance. We did a sound check the day before to set the mike levels and also rehearsed in a small dressing room backstage early that morning. Ms. Fleming provided the fine, understated arrangement by Rob Moose and was a friendly and generous colleague. We were seated in front of the stage just a few feet away from the former President and the Mayor. After performances by the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus, The Apostolic Church of God Praise Team choir and an opening prayer, Ms. Fleming was introduced to great cheers. She sang beautifully and emotionally and we were received with enthusiasm by the boisterous audience as we took our bows.